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Thursday, April 21, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. sanctions North Korean bank facilitating arms trade with Iran

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on a North Korean bank identified as involved in weapons sales to Iran despite the fact it likely has no assets in the United States.


The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Bank of East Land, also known as Dongbank Bank. Treasury said the North Korean bank has been facilitating weapons exports to Iran and other Middle East clients.

"Bank of East Land is a major conduit for facilitating North Korea's conventional arms trade," Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said. "Today's designation exposes North Korea's efforts to circumvent sanctions to conduct illicit activities and degrades its ability to abuse the international financial system."

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Officials, however, acknowledged that the Pyongyang bank was not known to have assets in the United States. They said leading members of Congress have complained that the sanctions on Iran and North Korea imposed over the last two years have been ineffective.

In an April 19 statement, Treasury said the North Korean bank supported arms exporter Green Pine Associated Corp. Treasury said the bank was working with Green Pine to transfer funds in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

"In 2007 and 2008, Bank of East Land facilitated transactions involving Green Pine and designated Iranian financial institutions, including Bank Melli and Bank Sepah," Treasury said.

Green Pine was described as specializing in maritime military craft and armaments. Treasury cited submarines, military boats and missile systems, and said Green Pine has exported "torpedoes and technical assistance to Iranian defense-related firms."

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